Kefalonia undoubtedly boasts an extensive winemaking tradition, but the island’s viticulture also deserves to be discovered for its present and future.
Kefalonia is synonymously linked with Robola, a grape variety producing white wine. In the past, the Venetians referred to it as the “Wine of the Stone,” because the variety’s vines grew, along with black fir trees, on the rocky hills of Mount Ainos.
These days, the Robola variety is cultivated over large expanses covering the slopes of Mount Ainos, leading all the way down to the coastline.
The Ionian island can pride itself for being the only Robola producer as the variety is not cultivated elsewhere.
Robola is usually vinified alone, without the addition of any other varieties during the fermentation process, yielding unique and sophisticated wines of a bright gold color, fairly high acidity and refreshing aromas, with hints of lemon blossom, citrus, and Muscat grapes.
Robola also produces fascinating results when blended with the abundant varieties found on Kefalonia.
The Moschatela, Muscat and Vostilidi (or Goustolidi) which produce white wines and the red Mavrodafni, are all very interesting, as are other lesser known local varieties.
Organized wine tourism
The Greek Wine Experience, an agency organizing wine tasting and educational programs, offers interesting packages that acquaint travelers with the island’s grape varieties, its wineries and wines.
“We are striving to unite winemakers, producers of local varieties and entrepreneurs of the gastronomy and dining sectors, in an informative yet entertaining manner,” says Dimitris Lolos, the campaign’s mastermind.
“It (the agency) aims to provide visitors to the island with the fondest of memories, motivate them to return and also relay their visit’s memories to others back home.”
Wine tasting and educational sessions, combined wine and cheese events, private cooking lessons and winery tours are organized as part of the overall effort. Greek grape varieties, local gastronomy and domestic food products represent the core of the agency’s activities – offered to small groups of between eight and twelve persons.
The accommodation selections, including villas, five-star resorts as well as yachts moored at the marinas of Kefalonia, add a special touch to the initiative.
The agency’s Robola Tour, which includes visits to six of the island’s most organized wineries equipped with wine-tasting rooms and cellars open to visitors, ranks as one of its most interesting offerings.
Its eight-meter speedboat is used for six-person wine cruises that are combined with visits to the island’s smaller beaches
The agency also offers its services to wedding functions and collaborates with wedding planning agencies.